Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Memories

My most special Valentine's Day memory is about my Dad.  He treated Valentine's Day as his very special holiday  to celebrate his love for us.  Every year his present for my Mom and me was the same: red heart shaped boxes of chocolate.  Her box was always the larger of the two and each year he would explain to me that she got the biggest box because she was the Mommy....she was his special, lifelong love.  And somehow the way he explained it made perfect sense to me.  I didn't feel that he loved me any less, just that they had something very special that created a strong foundation for our family.  And the sameness and predictability of the gift was a perfect symbol of his love and care for that family: rock solid, unwavering, permanent, secure.

Often there was also a card along with the candy.  One year when I was a young teen he signed the card: From your first valentine, Daddy.  I didn't have a boyfriend at that time but he knew that I stood on the brink of dating and all the potential heartache associated with that stage of life.  He wanted me to know that no matter what other valentine's would come and go, he was there always.

One year was extra special in a bittersweet way.   Dad was physically weak from months of illness and medical treatment, but he wanted to maintain his Valentine's Day tradition.  Although he shouldn't have been driving, one day he managed to sneak out of the house without anyone knowing and drive to a local department store.  He went to the candy department, but was amazed that he didn't see any candy hearts for sale.  He found a helpful clerk and asked  what had happened to the Valentine's Day candy.  She kindly asked him if he was late for the current year or early for the next. In the confusion of his illness and medical appointments he had miscalculated and was a week too late for the holiday!  He was deeply disappointed.  Time had become his enemy and I think he knew in his heart of hearts that he wouldn't have another Valentine's Day to correct his error. The kind woman must have seen the despair on his face and told him that if he could wait a few minutes she would check in the back to see if any of the Valentine's Day stock remained.  She came back with two heart shaped boxes of chocolate!  Dad expressed his gratitude and headed home.  Needless to say, we were surprised!

And that was the last valentine from my first valentine.

1 comment:

  1. Tears in my eyes from this bittersweet story! Thanks for sharing it with us...fabulous tradition!!!